The Super Williams Bros

Published on: 25 April 2024
The Super Williams Bros
Nico and Inaki Williams

The success has sparked jubilant celebrations throughout Bilbao, including the iconic river parade on the gabarra. Ernesto Valverde’s side have attracted plaudits far and wide, but perhaps none more so than the club’s dynamic attacking duo, brothers Iñaki and Nico Williams. The pair are the fulcrum of Athletic’s attack, contributing 35 goals + assists between them this season.

With Nico on the left and Iñaki on the right, the Lions boast one of the most potent forward lines in the Spanish top flight. In fact, the club’s 52 LaLiga goals this term is their highest at this stage of the campaign across the last 10 seasons (55 in 2013-14). And the Williams brothers have undoubtedly played a crucial part in Athletic’s prolific upturn, posing formidable threats on either flank within  Valverde’s 4-2-3-1 set-up.



Iñaki, 29, has been the attacking lynchpin of the side for several years but often struggled for consistency when typically playing as a striker in previous seasons. However, a shift to the right-wing has propelled him to new heights. The Ghana international has notched 11 goals and five assists across all competitions this season – only managing more goal involvement in one of his previous seven campaigns with the Basque side (19 in 2018-19).

Iñaki’s switch out wide has given the attacker a new lease of life. It enables him to pose a constant threat running towards the opposition box, as opposed to having to play with his back to goal as a lone central forward figure. The 29-year-old’s role in the side emphasises his greatest attribute, which is undoubtedly stretching opposition back-lines. He has received the third most progressive passes in the league this season (174), with his explosiveness proving to be a constant menace for LaLiga’s fullbacks.



Though despite operating in a wider berth, that is not to say the Ghanaian’s threat on goal has dwindled in any shape or form. In fact, he has the third most touches in the opposition box in LaLiga across 2023-24. Iñaki offers an imposing presence in attack and has continued to flourish under Valverde. No player has attempted more shots than in the  Spanish top-flight this term (81 – the same as Robert Lewandowski), while he has also had the most shots on target in the division (38).



Athletic are renowned for being one of the most aggressive pressing sides in LaLiga – recording the most high turnovers in the division this season (323). They have turned eight of those high turnovers into goals, which is also more than any other side in the top flight. And Iñaki is certainly at the forefront of the Lions’ vigorous high press. Only Lucas Ocampos (29) and Jude Bellingham (27) have won possession in the final third on more occasions than the Ghanaian’s 25 in 2023-24. This defensive discipline has come with maturity as Iñaki develops into one of the leaders within Athletic’s side, and there is little doubt this has coincided with the emergence of his younger brother Nico.

Nico, 21, may just be the most exciting player in the Spanish top flight. The Spain international possesses the ability to lift crowds off their seats, driving forwards with the ball and leaving opposition defenders in his wake. Only Girona’s Sávio (91) has completed more dribbles than Nico in LaLiga this season (72). Athletic pose one of the most high-paced attacking outfits across Europe, with Nico’s electric surges capable of transitioning defence into attack in an instance.



The 21-year-old is enjoying a superb season at San Mamés, boasting three goals and eight assists in LaLiga. Indeed, only Álex Baena has provided more assists in the division (nine). Nico has established himself as one of the brightest attackers in Spain and is reportedly attracting interest from several elite European clubs. The forward has added a new dimension to Valverde’s side, as they are able to strain opponents on opposite flanks. But while Iñaki may be more comfortable in vast areas of space, Nico is equally capable of operating in tight spaces with his impressive technique.



The Spanish international has become a vital component for the Lions – generating a host of chances for his teammates. Nico ranks fifth in LaLiga for Expected Assists (6.4), while he has also completed the fifth most crosses in the competition this season (43). Both Williams brothers have forged an excellent relationship with Athletic talisman Gorka Guruzeta. The striker’s intelligent runs perfectly complement the duo’s skillsets and have aided the Basque club in becoming one of the most electrifying attacks across Europe. Nico has tallied four assists for Guruzeta in LaLiga this term, the most for one player from another in the division.

The 21-year-old forward also adopted the role of provider during Athletic’s historic Copa del Rey triumph this month, playing a deft pass to set up Oihan Sancet’s equalising goal. And the Lions are not content with just their cup victory this season. Valverde’s charges are firmly in the hunt for a Champions League spot, trailing Atlético Madrid in fourth by just three points.



The Basque side travel to the capital this Saturday evening to visit Atlético in what is set to be a tremendous tussle in the fight for a Champions League berth. And with the Williams brothers spearheading the side’s attack, you’d be a brave man to bet against Athletic qualifying for the competition for the first time in a decade.